‘Eat more sushi’
I have an 85-year-old friend who recently chastised me for “going on about being old” in my column. I see her point, everything being relative and all that, but some people have the good luck to age gracefully whereas others are catapulted into it, and Grace goes right out the door. For the record, I don’t think I’m old; I just realize that Grace has not exactly been my best friend so I might as well poke fun at her. Anyway, here I go again. You know how if you look for something online, you’ll never have to look for it again because “they” will never forget and ads for whatever you were looking for will keep popping up all over the place long after you have decided you didn’t want a kitchen cart anyway. I really don’t remember (no pun intended) ever searching much for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, although I probably have for column purposes. And “they” will never let me forget. Haha.
I researched Alzheimer’s extensively (many years ago when Google was something you did with your eyes) for an article commissioned by the Dalhousie University Alumni magazine. They knew I had lost my mother to Alzheimer’s. I don’t joke about Alzheimer’s or dementia. However my sisters and I have shared laughs as well as tears over the effects of mind deterioration. You know my philosophy about humour, black or otherwise; it can help you get through just about anything. I may not be 85, but I hope my sense of humour will keep me writing this column when I am.
I joke about losing my memory even though I really don’t worry about it because I never had a memory to lose. This could prove embarrassing when you’re younger, now it’s taken for granted, so for me that’s a good part of aging. There are loads of studies to help us keep our memories as sharp as they used to be, or at least no blunter. They just keep popping upon the computer, inspiring my own personal riddle of the day: How do you know when a researcher is not a boomer? When they take a study saying that, “consuming omega-3-rich fish, like salmon and tuna, can significantly decrease your risk of cognitive decline” and turn it into “eat more sushi.”
I am advised to add some interval training to my routine. I’m not too proud to admit that I had to look up interval training. Interval training is a series of low to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. That’s simple enough for the simplest among us, quite doable, and goes hand in hand with the next one; being overweight can have a negative effect on brain volume, potentially increasing our rate of cognitive decline in later years.
We know about keeping the brain active, but as we roll our eyes about kids playing video games, we should be aware that if we played them ourselves, “our cognitive abilities could be considerably improved.” And, I’ll bet you didn’t know that “adults of all ages who used visual imagery-based mnemonic devices experienced greater functionality in parts of their brain, potentially staving off memory loss and other forms of cognitive decline.”
I have already slowed my cognitive decline by looking up ‘visual imagery-based mnemonic devices’ which I will over-simplify by describing as exercises in remembering things you see, including the written word. Ask me tomorrow if I remember that phrase.
I will close with “men and women aged 70 to 74, those who regularly drink antioxidant-rich beverages, including wine, were mentally fitter than those who abstained” and “individuals in their 70s and 80s who cleaned their own house lowered their risk of death by as much as 30 per cent.”
I take all studies with a grain of salt (salt shrinks your brain, by the way) and usually end up in the middle. I am not quite 70, but I will take one of these studies very seriously.
If you can’t figure out which one, you may be beyond help.
I don’t joke about Alzheimer’s or dementia. However my sisters and I have shared laughs as well as tears over the effects of mind deterioration. You know my philosophy about humour, black or otherwise; it can help you get through just about anything.
How do you know when a researcher is not a boomer? When they take a study saying that, “consuming omega-3-rich fish, like salmon and tuna, can significantly decrease your risk of cognitive decline” and turn it into “eat more sushi.”